• Dr Kris Rallah-Baker, a Yuggera and Biri-Gubba-Juru/Yuggera man, became first Indigenous ophthalmologist. (Fred Hollows Foundation)Source: Fred Hollows Foundation
Kristopher Rallah-Baker suggests that addressing bias in the medical system would have a direct impact on Indigenous health.
Brooke Fryer

4 Oct 2019 - 1:15 PM  UPDATED 4 Oct 2019 - 1:15 PM

Australia’s first and only Indigenous ophthalmologist says addressing institutional racism would narrow inequality in the healthcare system.

Kristopher Rallah-Baker also said that having more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical professionals has a tangible impact on Indigenous healthcare.

Indigenous people still have a life expectancy 10 years shorter than non-Indigenous Australians.

Dr Rallah-Baker has previously described his personal experiences of discrimination while training at medical college.

“The health system, as we know, is working towards closing the gap,” he said.

“Indigenous voices in the system have actually highlighted to non-Indigenous people that perhaps things could be done differently.”

He spoke to NITV News from an event in Darwin organised by the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association which is looking at ‘disruptive innovations’ within the health system.

One example is about improving and expanding cultural awareness training. 

“It’s really an introspective process where individuals look at themselves better so that they can then understand others better,” he said.

“If you do Indigenous health well – for the most marginalised group in the country – then the upshot is that you end up doing health well for everybody.”